Oh, how the mighty have fallen: Onetime vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is doing sponcon on Instagram.
On Wednesday, Palin posted a photo of herself holding a clear tumbler of tea (yes, tea, despite coloring that looked not unlike urine) and a gushing caption extolling the wonders of Teami skinny tea—apparently, her daughter Bristol recommended it to her! Palin concluded with a coupon code for her followers to save 15 percent on the tea if they place an order.
Palin did not add a hashtag like #ad or #spon to indicate that she was being paid to include the post on her social media account, as the Federal Trade Commission requires to help consumers distinguish paid endorsements from unbiased expressions of enthusiasm for tea or other goods. CNN reported that Teami would not say whether Palin was paid for the post. In 2016, Racked reported that companies pay up to $250,000 for influencers to endorse the products on their social media accounts, and CNN cited numbers that indicate it’s typical for influencers to make about 1 percent of their follower count per post, which would amount to a much less illustrious $250 or so. Palin only has a relatively modest 25,000 followers on Instagram, but she notably has much more popular presences on Twitter and Facebook, and she also posted this picture on the latter.
Though Palin raved about the skinny tea’s ability to keep her energized as a busy hockey mom, skinny teas are better known as weight loss aids that contain the same ingredients as many laxatives. They won’t help you lose weight, but they will cause diarrhea—so it’s alarming that someone with a public platform like Palin is promoting the products. As a former major political figure and current well-known personality, she wields the power to convince people who don’t know any better that skinny tea is a healthy choice.
Skinny teas have taken off among Instagram influencers specifically, often leading to more prominent endorsement deals. So maybe Palin is just getting started. What’s next, teeth whitening? Athleisure? Or maybe she could repurpose that famous joke from the 2008 campaign—“You know what they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is? Lipstick”—to sell some makeup.